Net Neutrality? Really?
There is no net neutrality. Get used to it.
It isn’t a matter of freedom of choice, the need to fight against corporate oppression. It is a matter of technical need. Here are a few resources to change your mind if you think all bits are created equal.
Martin Geddes cannot be accused of being friends with telecom companies – at least not with their current way of thinking. He is running a great newsletter – if you like reading my posts here, you will probably love reading his newsletters.
Dan York did a very good summary of Martin Geddes concept of Hypervoice. The comments there are also worth noting.
Google and Orange
So… it seems Google has been paying Orange to get its content faster to users.
Not sure what the issue is here. Companies such as Akamai, are placing their servers within operator networks to build CDNs – content delivery networks. These are used to make sure your data gets copied around the world and served where it is close to the end user – this service can be seen as a non-neutral solution.
By paying to a third party, I can make sure my services run better on the network – the more money I have, the better I can compete simply by employing CDN or CDN-like technologies.
What is the difference of paying to a CDN vendor sitting inside an operator’s network to paying to the operator directly?
What happens if operators start running their own CDNs and offering them to potential customers? Will that abide to net neutrality rules, now that the companies doing that are also hosting the network itself?
And what about Netflix? They grew to a point that allows them to build their own private CDN and then force it on operators:
Netflix Open Connect is in part a effort by Netflix to counter that gambit by offering to peer directly with ISPs or by co-locating servers at the ISP’s facilities. The idea is to offer ISPs a way to reduce their overall transit costs as incentive to connect directly with Netflix. Once connected, any effort by the ISP to get cute with Netflix Open Connect would smack of discrimination against Netflix itself, and likely would draw a red flag from the FCC.
The bigger you get, the easier it is for you to push your bits towards the users.
The net was never neutral, and it never will be.
Bits are not born equal – as Martin Geddes puts it – they aren’t human, so why treat them as such?
This post you are reading is being hosted on a VPS in Israel. Why? Because I already had it there for another blog that I have and was too scrooge to pay for another server in the US. This whole blog is a hobby for me, so I have my limits in how much I invest in it.
Watching a video on YouTube or Vimeo? I am sure you’ll appreciate higher bandwidths for those bits – you want more of them and a lot faster than you want this post that I’ve written.
Doing a Skype video call? Or even a voice one… I am sure you want to hear me in a natural tone, and not have to wait for a few seconds for me to talk – latency is more important here than it is on the other ones.
Delving into high frequency trading? Pay for a few milliseconds to get an edge over your competition. This is a good enough reason to place another, special, underwater transatlantic fiber-optic cable.
If the network itself had the capabilities of distinguishing between its bits, giving them different qualities, would that be such a bad thing?
WebRTC will go through the same path. It starts by playing around with the technology. Uploading static demos, launching services that are local to a country. And then deploying servers around the world.
I can even envision a service where routing the data through the specialized network will take less time than running it directly between endpoints – the relay network you build can run faster as it is dedicated and managed.
You’d pay for such a service if you wanted to use it for serious business.
And while we are at it, why not pay to get a lower latency from the service providers as well? How different is it from buying a dedicated MPLS line as an enterprise or buy CDN services as a “broadcaster”?